Word of the Day : February 21, 2018


verb dih-MAHR-kayt


1 : to fix or define the limits of : delimit

2 : to set apart : distinguish

Did You Know?

Demarcate is set apart by its unique history. Scholars think it may have descended from the Italian verb marcare ("to mark"), which is itself of Germanic origin (the Old High German word for boundary, marha, is a relative). Marcare is the probable source of the Spanish marcar (also "to mark"), from which comes the Spanish demarcar ("to fix the boundary of"). In 1494, a Spanish noun, demarcación, was used to name the meridian dividing New World territory between Spain and Portugal. Later (about 1730), English speakers began calling this boundary the "line of demarcation," and eventually we began applying that phrase to other dividing lines as well. Demarcation, in turn, gave rise to demarcate in the early 19th century.


Treaty negotiations are underway, and both parties have agreed to accept whatever boundaries are demarcated in that document.

"These so-called stelae, some roughly 10 stories high with intricately carved stone, are thought to have demarcated royal burial places." — Marcus Eliason, The Denver Post, 14 Jan. 2018

Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of demarcate meaning "to distinguish": d _ _ f _ r _ n _ i _ te.



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!